Although summer officially ended on 28 February, the Fire Danger Period didn’t!
Residents are reminded that fire restrictions remain in force within the Central Goldfields, City of Greater Bendigo, Macedon Ranges and Mt Alexander Shires due to ongoing very dry conditions. A date to lift restrictions will not be determined until after Easter but will be widely publicised by CFA.
With restrictions already being lifted in some adjoining municipalities in the north of the state agreement has been reached by the shires to consider issuing Schedule 13 Permits as of next Tuesday 3rd April 2018.
What are Schedule 13 permits?
These may be issued to burn fine fuel (such as grass, stubble, weeds), and only where there is an essential need to burn during the Fire Danger Period.
For example: farming – broad acre cropping.
- Depending on your location, the assessment of applications and issuing of Schedule 13 permits may be done by a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer or CFA.
- Submit your form according to Council or CFA instruction.
With the nights getting cooler there is concern that fires are being lit and some of these have resulted in CFA and Victoria Police attending. There is a Zero Tolerance policy for any unlawful fire during the Fire Danger Period meaning that offenders will find themselves facing court and potentially large fines and/or imprisonment.
CFA District 02 Operations Manager Trent McKinnon said “We are still in the Fire Danger Period, which means that fire restrictions remain in place. If you intend to burn off or have an outdoor fire at this time of year then you must comply with certain restrictions or obtain a permit. The only exception was for the burning of stubble by broad acre farmers and camp fires were allowed providing they meet very strict regulations.”
Mr McKinnon commented “You may begin to see smoke from stubble burning as of next week but that would not mean restrictions have been lifted. Over the last fortnight we have seen communities across the state seriously impacted by fire and conditions in our municipality remain very dry and the risk of fire remains very high.”
“With a number of people camping during the Easter break it’s important to understand fire restrictions, particularly if you’re planning to light a campfire and it’s also just as important to be aware that campfires are banned on Total Fire Ban Days.”
During the Fire Danger Period you can only have a campfire if:
- The wind is less than 10km/h (if leaves and small twigs are in constant motion then this is considered to be more than 10km per hour)
- There is a three metre area clear of flammable material around and above the fire
- The fire is smaller than one square metre
- A person is in attendance at all times and has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire
- It is completely extinguished before the person leaves.
Mr McKinnon commented that “Fire restrictions limit the ways you can use fire on your property, including machinery which may produce sparks or flames. Any fire can quickly threaten lives and property given the right conditions. “
CFA North West Region Community Education Coordinator Paul Tangey emphasised the fact that “Until the date has been set to cease the Fire Danger Period, burning-off is not allowed and municipalities will not accept any local law permit to burn applications.”
Mr Tangey commented that “Fire restrictions remain in force for a very good reason and that is to try and prevent fires from starting unnecessarily! It’s up to you to stay informed by checking the Fire Danger Rating for your area daily and to act to protect yourself and your family by leaving early on hot, dry, windy days. Don’t wait and see.”
He also made the point that “It’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent fires from starting and spreading.”
Two recommended sources of information are vital to explaining which part of Victoria you are in and the regulations around what activities are permitted during the Fire Danger Period – the Total Fire Ban Districts map and the Can I Can’t I brochure.
These publications and further details are available from –
- Your local CFA brigade;
- Emergency Management Victoria website – emergency.vic.gov.au
- CFA website – cfa.vic.gov.au
- Vic Emergency Hotline – 1800 226 226
- Vic Emergency App – https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/vicemergency-app
- Social Media including Facebook and Twitter
|Further information –
Community Education Coordinator Paul Tangey
03 54302200 or firstname.lastname@example.org